The Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, New York has announced that it needs to raise $200,000 by this July to keep its doors open.
Marabou asks you to please donate what you can, every little bit will help:
Weeksville was established in 1838 in present day Crown Heights Brooklyn and is a symbol and model of Black freedom, Black empowerment, and Black self determination. By the 1850s, Weeksville was one of the largest free-Black communities in the United States. It had established schools, churches, means of taking care of the community with an orphanage and elder care centers, and had its own newspaper the Freedman’s Torchlight. Notable residents of Weeksville include Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first Black female doctor in New York and Sarah Jane Smith Tompkins Garnet, the first Black female school principal in New York. By the 1960s, Weeksville and its history were nearly lost, but in 1968 local activists and community members fought to save the last remaining vestiges of Weeksville including its historic houses. After just celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Weeksville is on the verge of closing its doors to the public, which includes 6,000 school children a year.
We cannot lose Weeksville’s history. It is the only African-American historical site of its kind in Brooklyn. Weeksville is a much needed voice in New York and American history because the stories and experiences of free Black people during the nineteenth century are not shared enough and are seldom given the space and platform to be heard. Weeksville’s current challenges are representative of the difficulties of cultural institutions that represent and serve Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, especially now with funding to arts and culture rapidly shrinking. This is a reminder that we must actively work to ensure that both public (government) and private (individual, corporate, foundation) funding is going to the communities and institutions that need it most. While that is a long-term project, right now there is something we can do, and that is support Weeksville.
From the Weeksville fundraising page:
“We need your help to raise at least $200,000. Please donate and help us reach our $200,000 funding goal by June 30. This will enable us to remain open through September and give us time to plan for the future: We will use that time to engage in a critical, much-needed strategic planning process to develop an operational and funding model that’s much more appropriate for the non-profit landscape we find ourselves in now. Our goal is to come out of this planning with a clear path to sustainability and to ensure that we never find ourselves in this financially vulnerable position again.”
For more information on Weeksville watch the video below.